An immortal and very old man resides in a mausoleum. He is the last man on Earth. He hears a great noise, goes outside and is disappointed, it was only a starship decelerating in the atmosphere. The aliens land and attempt to interview the man using a translator. He amuses himself by changing languages many times during the interview until he is caught. The aliens leave after determining that the man believes everyone died of 'Peace' and that he had refused this peace and had been condemned to immortality.

I last read this over twenty years ago, but it was probably from the golden age, possibly from Galaxy or Amazing Stories.

I have just read "Forever" by Damon Knight (1981), this is a very short story and nothing like the one I am seeking.

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    There's a similar story about Trans-humans and one old un-upgraded man meeting the first aliens to contact humanity - IIRC "The Last Man" by IIRC Alfred Bester of around the same era, but that's a slightly different approach. – Covertwalrus Jun 9 '18 at 21:55

Hmm... this is probably not it, but just in case you're remembering parts of two different stories: "Forever" by Damon Knight (1981) has a "last immortal man on Earth visited by aliens" setup, and they do try to talk to him in a bunch of different languages; finally they just ask him if he wants to come with them, he says no thanks, so they leave.

However, he's eternally young (he took the immortality treatment as a prepubescent child), and I don't remember there being anything about "peace"— I think all the other immortal people basically just got tired of living.

  • What's the other story? – Organic Marble Apr 14 '19 at 4:22
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    I don't have another one in mind - I just meant that the story I'm thinking of fits some of the questioner's details very well but not others, so probably I'm wrong, but it also could be that the details that don't fit are actually from something else. That's happened to me before. – E. Bishop Apr 14 '19 at 5:13
  • Sorry for the delay but no it is NOT 'Forever' by Damon Knight. One extra item, one of the aliens responsible for recording the interaction with the 'Last Man' uses a key word for the files calling them 'Beetles & Birchbark' or something similar. – Seldon2k Feb 4 '20 at 8:19

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